It’s the same every day. Lead on - out the door - sniff - mooch - poop - sniff - wander - home - done. While our dogs love any chance for an adventure and we (particularly at the moment) relish any opportunity to head into the outside world, there are a range of small but mighty changes we can make to our regular walks to make them more exciting, engaging and more mentally and physically stimulating (and tiring!) for us all.
Instead of feeding them their dinner from a boring old bowl all in one lump, take a portion of their food out with you. Work on the huge range of outdoor and walking skills there are to choose from using their food to shape and reward the behaviour you’d like to see. If your dog pulls on the lead, use their food to reward loose lead walking and to encourage eye contact with you, if they are easily distracted or tempted to rush over to other dogs, people or smells, use their food to encourage them to stick with you until you grant them permission to explore further. Remember, your walks should be a highlight of the day for you both, not a stressful struggle against unreliable, unpredictable or undesirable behaviour, and it’s never too late to change that! Put an end to lead pulling once and for all: EPISODE 1: LOOSE LEAD WALKING
Tackle your dog's distractibility out and about: EPISODE 6: DISTRACTIONS ON A WALK
A walk doesn’t have to mean a straight line out, back and home. Explore new places with obstacles, jumps, bridges, water, and anything and everything you can get your dog to hop on, jump over, crawl under, go round, dive into, run around and more. Teaching your dog new commands and cues for each of these movements means you can direct your dog around new found agility courses wherever you go!
Alongside loose lead walking, a solid recall is the nemesis of many dog owners today. Allowing your dog to roam off lead is one of the great joys of dog walking, but is hindered by anxious parents worried their dog will never return and mischievous dogs tempted by everything and anything more “interesting” than their parents.
Teach your dog a reliable recall from beginning to end: EPISODE 7: RECALL
Playing with toys or a ball out and about is a great way to enhance your dog’s exercise as well as integrating mental stimulation and exercise into the mix. Not only does the chase allow them to build up speed and excitement as they race after their toy, you can level up their retrieve to finding hidden objects by following only their nose, practice impulse control as they wait for their retrieve command before fetching a stationary object, and even learn how to search out, find, collect and bring you items round the house!
Teach even the least toy motivated dog to retrieve and hold objects: EPISODE 14: RETRIEVE
Learn how to harness your dog’s incredible sniffing power to search and identify: EPISODE 9: SCENTWORK